Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 37 seconds
We recently completed a 2-story remodeling project where in addition to the parents, two small children reside.
We subcontracted the railing replacement for the project to a specialty company that does this sort of work and is very good at it. We met the owner of the railing company on site reviewed our plan and made the typical assurances that the work would be done safely in the next few days. We shared our concerns about the railing being removed and he assured us that they were going to protect the home from inadvertent falls.
Gut Instinct Saved Us
My project manager who cares deeply about our projects got a nervous feeling as he was about to turn onto the freeway headed home. He changed his mind and went back to check on that project at the end of the day. To his shock and disbelief, there was no fall protection and the railing was gone. He cobbled some protection together and shared the images with me. He said he could sleep now that he had verified that the project was safe.
Imagine The Worst Case Scenario
Say a child falls to his death.16′ onto concrete, It could happen. Who would be responsible? Legally, who knows, I believe that it would be the railing company and likely the end of my company as well. I’ll bet it would make national news. All because an employee decided to be lazy and not follow the rules.
How Can We Stop It?
The happy ending is that we protected the railing for the night and nothing bad happened. It was a wake-up call and one that I shared with the owner of the railing company. He thanked me and promised to look into the details and make sure that this never happens again. No amount of liability insurance can bring back a lost child or pet. I gave my employee a KA award for showing that he cared about everyone. There is no greater honor than getting recognition for nothing bad happening.
Send Me A Picture!
As an idea, “trust but verify” is the key to making sure things get done correctly. Low-volume / high-risk maneuvers require special attention. It is that way in the medical field and needs to be adopted into the construction field too. Perhaps a photo of the protection that was used would help for verification purposes. If you have some process that works for you please share. I have no desire to hurt anyone, “Do no harm”. Accidents happen despite the best intentions of people, I get it but to leave fall protection to luck is about the stupidest, most irresponsible, most risky behavior I can think of.
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